WCW: Thunder (01.08.98)


WCW: Thunder
January 8, 1998
Daytona Beach, FL
Ocean Center

The current WCW champs are as follows:
WCW World Champion: Sting (12/28/1997)
WCW U.S. Champion: Diamond Dallas Page (12/28/1997)
WCW World Tag Team Champions: Rick & Scott Steiner (10/13/1997)
WCW World Television Champion: Booker T (12/29/1997)
WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Ultimo Dragon (12/29/1997)

Your hosts are Tony Schiavone, Bobby Heenan, and Lee Marshall.

We get an extended recap of what went down with the nWo on Monday Nitro. Between that and the introductions, we’re almost ten minutes into this show.

  • Randy Savage (w/Elizabeth) vs. Chris Adams

The stage looks like leftover material from the Legends of the Hidden Temple TV show. It looks like the wrestlers are coming out of a cave with blue lights circling behind them. Savage messes around with Adams. Pretty much abuses him like a jobber for a little bit. He’s lifting Adams up off the mat at two counts. Out on the floor, Adams manages to reverse a whip on Savage into the ringpost hurting his arm. While he licks his wounds and the ref is attending to Adams, Lex Luger runs down and hits Savage over the head with a chair! He slides Savage into the ring and sprints to the dressing room like a bat out of hell while Adams crawls on top of Savage for the three-count. (2:30) Well that did not go like you thought you would. Another example of why Randy Savage is greater than Hulk Hogan. ½*

Before we go to break, JJ Dillon appears at ringside talking to the ref. Not sure what’s that about.

Okay, we’re back. No JJ Dillon. Hollywood Hogan and Eric Bischoff head down to the ring. Bischoff tells us that there are no problems in the nWo and Hogan gets his WCW world title back. Hogan recalls that every good looking girl in a bikini told him that he was the man, they love him, and he beat Sting fair and square at Starrcade because he’s just – too – sweet. Hogan calls the show nWo Thunder. Tonight, we’ll see the slow 1-2-3 that confirms that he beat Sting and that’s the way it is, was, or ever will be. He’s the only world champ, he’s got the largest pythons in the world, he’s too rich, too big, and just too darn tan. Hogan makes fun of the Stinger fans crying that he lost. Hulk says Sting will never beat the man who made wrestling and he should be kissing his feet for all Hogan has done for the business. Hogan is here 4-LIFE or at least until the summer of 2000. Does it feel odd to anybody else when Hogan uses the nWo phrases when they aren’t *his* phrases?

WCW Saturday Night! Watch it – IF YOU WILL! 6:05PM eastern time! TBS! Diamond Dallas Page, Glacier, Booker T, Chris Jericho, and many more stars will be on the program. It’s the MUTHASHIP! Take it to the PAY WINDAH, baby!

Mike Tenay handles interview duties here tonight. He’s here with JJ Dillon to discuss why he came down to talk to a referee at the end of the Savage/Adams match. Sticking by what Nick Lambros said on Nitro this past week and seeing what Lex Luger did to Randy Savage, JJ Dillon can’t allow the decision to stand and awards the match to Savage. Lex Luger comes out to plead his case. WCW has been mistreated and bamboozled by the nWo for over eighteen months. Now all of a sudden the brass of WCW decide to take action? Luger actually has a solid point there. Just what exactly happened in Baltimore that made it so bad? He says that he and the top guys of WCW have agreed that they will do whatever they have to do to the nWo and the WCW board of directors can do whatever they have to do. Once Luger leaves, JJ says he’s just doing his job and announces once again that Randy Savage wins the match. Tony, Lee, and Bobby all seem to agree with JJ Dillon.

  • Rick Martel vs. Louie Spicolli

We’re in our second match and already have gotten two looks at new faces in WCW as far as recapping these weeklies go. Spicolli quickly gives up on this match and Martel has to grab him and toss him back inside only for Spicolli to lower the boom on him. Raven and his Flock head down to find their seats. Martel mounts a comeback and hits the AA Spinebuster to set up the QUEBEC CRAB for the win. (3:18) Crowd seems pretty lukewarm for Martel. ½*

They take us back to Starrcade to show Kevin Nash no-showing and Scott Hall paying the price by getting a CHOKESLAM by the Giant. If so many people saw Starrcade, why do they have to basically devote the entire program to this PPV?

  • Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Michiyoshi Ohara (w/Sonny Oono)

Another first look at Ohara on a main WCW weekly show. Tenay tells a story where Ohara tried to join the nWo, but Chono and Tenzan refused him and spraypainted the Japanese symbol for “dog” on his back. So basically he’s the Ray Traylor of New Japan. Ohara has a Hakushi feel to him. I love the praying hands powerbomb he does. That only gets two. They trade blows until Tenzan hits a Shoulderbreaker to lead into the FLYING HEADBUTT for the three-count. (2:57) ¾*

They take us back to Monday Nitro to listen to highlights from the Ric Flair and Bret Hart confrontation.

  • Ric Flair vs. Chris Jericho

Jericho does the same seemingly insincere apology bit from Monday Nitro and presents Dave Penzer with a suit jacket. Headlocks and shoulderblocks are traded. Jericho turns it up a notch after a monkey flip with a series of big kicks. Flair begs off and takes a backdrop. He sells his ankle to draw Jericho into a poke to the eyes. Jericho flips out of a back suplex and tries an O’Connor roll. Flair puts on the brakes, but turns around into a clothesline. This crowd loves him. Flair Flip takes him out to the apron. Jericho brings him back in with a suplex and tries the Lionsault, but nobody home. Flair tells Charles Robinson to check the time and LOW BLOWS the crap out of Jericho. He chops Jericho well and good in the corner, but Jericho fires back and hits another backdrop. Jericho comes off the top with a flying back elbow for 1-2-NO! He tries something else from the top rope, but Flair sidesteps him and drops an elbow. FIGURE-FOUR! Jericho taps out. (4:45) Heenan ensures Jericho that there’s no reason to feel bad. He’s been beaten by the best. WOO! Jericho tears off Dave Penzer’s jacket and throws another tantrum. Oh boy. *½

  • The Giant vs. Meng (w/Jimmy Hart)

Tony announces that Bret Hart and Ric Flair has been signed for WCW/nWo Souled Out. Plus, the Giant has been signed to face Kevin Nash on that show as well. Giant throws Meng around. Giant throws Jimmy Hart around. He misses a corner charge though and gets his knees kicked until he falls to the mat. Giant then NO-SELLS what Meng is throwing at him and delivers a CHOKESLAM for the win. (2:03) Well, that was quick. ½*

  • Bill Goldberg vs. Steve McMichael

McMichael leaps through the ropes to get at Goldberg during his entrance. There’s a little bit of ringside violence there. Inside the ring, Goldberg hits the press slam into a powerslam move. He then switches gears and applies the rolling legbar hold. Mongo escapes and clips the knee for the flying shoulder tackle. That only gets a one-count. After a pair of three point stance charges, Goldberg pops up and hits the spear to set up the JACKHAMMER for the win. (2:22) He appears to have learned a few new moves, but he doesn’t seem to know when to do them at what points – and that’s really the most important part of knowing how to wrestle. ½*

  • WCW World Tag Team Champions Rick & Scott Steiner (w/Ted DiBiase) vs. Buff Bagwell & Konnan (w/Vincent)

Too much posing from Buff to start. He eats some Steinerlines early from Scott. Butterfly slam to Buff brings in Konnan to receive a Steinerline as the nWo are forced to regroup. Back in, here comes Konnan to take on Rick. He beats Konnan down and runs him into the corner. Rick gets nailed by Buff from the apron as Konnan delivers the rolling lariat. HORRIBLE botch to a reverse neckbreaker (looked like Rick’s fault) from Buff. Rick comes back with a belly to belly suplex and hot tags Scott. As they look to finish off Konnan, Rick is up on the top rope waiting for the Steiner Bulldog finish, but Scott decides to deliver a FRANKENSTEINER out of the corner on the opposite side of the ring. Cover, 1-2-3. (3:37) I believe these Steiner boys need to have a talk. *

When we return, Tony says that Scott Steiner has been fined. We’ll talk about why a little bit later.

They re-air the Eric Bischoff versus Larry Zbyszko match from Starrcade in its entirety. Honestly, the stuff with Bret Hart and Scott Hall is my favorite moment from the show. After the match airs, we get some comments from Larry Z on his upcoming match with Scott Hall courtesy of Mike Tenay. Say what you will about the Zbyszko-Hall match, but this is a great PPV selling promo. Four star matches don’t necessarily sell PPVs, brother.

  • Scott Hall vs. Ray Traylor

In case people watch Thunder and don’t watch Nitro (?), they replay Ray Traylor getting spraypainted by Hollywood Hogan back in September. Traylor throws Hall down out of the lockup, but Hall grabs hold of the arm and flips him over to the mat. With the arm twisted, Hall slaps on Traylor’s head, which just angers the man. Traylor delivers a ten-count corner punch and an uppercut. Big corner avalanche and a shoulderblock takes Hall to the floor. Back in, Hall thumbs the ref in the eye to get Traylor to break up a bearhug. With the ref hurting, Hall heads to the floor and grabs his “tag team championship belt” to whack Traylor. Back in, a slow count gets 1-2-NO! Flying bulldog by Hall gets another nearfall. He goes out to find a chair and here comes Larry Zbyszko to ringside. Really wanting a piece of Larry Z, Hall is all distracted. Meanwhile, Traylor raises up with a faraway look in his eyes and spikes Hall with the TRAYLOR TRASH slam for the three-count. (4:18) Hall will job to anybody at any time, folks. Pretty spirited little brawl here. *½

  • WCW Cruiserweight Champion Ultimo Dragon vs. Juventud Guerrera

Juvi beat Psychosis to earn this title shot. Feeling out process to start. Juventud hits a springboard leg lariat on Dragon. He misses a corner splash and takes the kick combo. Now Dragon misses his Handspring Elbow in the corner. Dragon avoids a hurracanrana and crotches Juvi to the floor. He tries a moonsault press, but Guerrera is too far away and Dragon hurts himself. Back in, Juventud flips out of one release German suplex, but not a second for two. Juventud escapes the DRAGONSTEINER, but leaps down into a dropkick. While that seems like a real tide turner, Juvi counters a powerbomb into a DDT! Juvi Driver sets up the 450 SPLASH to pick up the win! (4:19) We’ve got a NEW WCW World Cruiserweight Champion! A few neat spots like the DDT counter, but too short otherwise. **¼

Bret Hart heads to the ring for an interview with Mike Tenay. Bret is wearing some goofy looking boots for some reason. He understands that while he was the best there is, there was, or ever will be in the WWF, he will have to prove himself worthy of that claim all over again here in WCW and won’t stop until he has that respect. Ric Flair heads down and boy he looks serious. Bret is already taking off his leather jacket. Flair wants Bret to say that line he always says with him standing in the ring, so Bret obliges him and says he’ll prove it. Flair has heard some pretty stupid things in his life, but that’s the dumbest. He suggests Bret Hart wanted to be just like him when he was 14 years old sitting in the front row with a box of popcorn. Flair puts over Bret and his family for all of their accomplishments, but Flair was once battling Bruiser Brody for an hour in Singapore and the natives were restless. WOO! That’s such a Ric Flair thing to say. Flair strips off the jacket and says he’s been around the world thirteen times and resents Bret for saying he’s better than him. Bret tries to wrap it up by saying that in order to be the man, he’ll just have to beat the man. Flair grabs at Bret and says it’s one thing to be the man, but it’s another to STAY the man. Bret then takes his jacket and heads home. Flair made Bret look like a punk here and the crowd was noticeably booing anything Bret had to say.

  • Lex Luger vs. Scott Norton

Real short match here. Norton attacks early, but misses a corner charge signaling a Luger comeback. Buff Bagwell appears for the distraction and Norton delivers the SHOULDERBREAKER. That should be it, but Luger kicks out at two. NO MAN HAS EVER KICKED OUT OF THAT BEFORE. Luger comes back like nothing happened with the Bionic Forearm and the TORTURE RACK gets the win. (2:03) Buff jumps Luger, but it’s right to the TORTURE RACK for him as well. Randy Savage runs out as well with a chair, but Luger dumps Buff on top of Savage to wipe him out. Luger scares them off with a chair and boy that’s a lot happening in a short period of time. ½*

Clips are shown of the Nick Patrick finish to the Sting-Hogan match at Starrcade. They don’t speed up the count on the tape like they do on the commercial copy. Bret Hart knocks out Nick Patrick, tosses Hollywood Hogan into the ring, and signals for the bell when Hogan gives up in the SCORPION DEATHLOCK. The post-match celebration ensues. Time for a commercial break.

When we return, the commentators set up the never-before-seen clips for the Sting-Hogan rematch the next night on Nitro. After they went off air, Sting comes off the SCORPION DEATHLOCK as Nick Patrick is in the ring. Sting grabs Patrick and gets walloped from behind by Hogan. He then rolls up Sting clearly with a handful of tights and Sting’s legs in the ropes as Patrick counts the pinfall and calls for the belt. Sting then clotheslines Patrick out of the ring and grabs Hogan for the SCORPION DEATHLOCK again as ref Randy Anderson wakes up, checks Hogan, and calls for the bell. JJ Dillon comes out to present the belt to Sting when Eric Bischoff follows him. During the tug of war, Bischoff kicks JJ Dillon in the head only for Sting to grab him for a SCORPION DEATHDROP. The nWo head down to beat up Sting when Bret Hart makes the save. The crowd is losing their minds. WCW guys then join the fight and eventually clear the ring of the nWo. Now back to live action!

Mike Tenay is in the ring with JJ Dillon. Now that everyone has seen the footage, the WCW executive committee can announce their decision. JJ asks for Hollywood Hogan to come down to the ring. Of course, he doesn’t come alone. JJ then asks for WCW world champ Sting to join them and to bring the belt with him. Effective immediately, the WCW world title will be held up until the board can come to a decision of where to go from here. Well, Sting takes off the belt and drops it at JJ’s feet. He then grabs the mic and for the first time since October 1996, Sting speaks. He tells JJ Dillon that he has no guts and then looks at Hogan pointing the bat at his throat to say he’s a dead man. STING HAS SPOKEN. What a moment.

  • WCW U.S. Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page vs. Kevin Nash (w/Hollywood Hogan)

They do their hand signs and stand across the ring from each other to start. DDP starts ramming the shoulder and hits a swinging neckbreaker for two. Nash sees a backdrop coming and lowers the boom on DDP. He heads over to the corner for the knees and elbows. He hammers the back and gets a little blowback from DDP, but hits the Side Slam for two. Nash beats up DDP on the floor a little bit. Back inside, he delivers the Bossman straddle. Snake Eyes and a big elbow drop scores another nearfall for Nash. Another Snake Eyes, but DDP slips off the shoulders and in mid-Diamond Cutter gets jabbed in the gut by Hogan for the DQ. (6:38) Nash really knows how to slow a match down, doesn’t he? Before Nash and Hogan can send a message to DDP, the Giant walks out. Hogan stands back while Nash and Giant trade punches until we’re plum out of time. ¾*

So what was the point of having the Flock even show up if they weren’t going to do anything?


Final Thoughts: First of all, this show did not need to be three hours long. Do they realize that maybe they shouldn’t expect their audience to sit through including WCW Saturday Night EIGHT HOURS of their wrestling show in a week’s time? It’s ridiculous. Secondly, they crammed way too much into these three hours and the sad part is there was very little to differentiate between what happened on Nitro and what happened on Thunder. This would have been a solid two hour program with some longer matches that focuses on the mid card instead of the main eventers and less nonsense. The good part I think they realized that and switched up the format a little bit. At least for the first several months, I didn’t think Thunder wasn’t all that bad of a show.


SNICKERS presents WCW/nWo Souled Out LIVE ON PPV on January 24 from Dayton, Ohio.

DOUBLE MAIN EVENT – Lex Luger vs. Randy Savage
DOUBLE MAIN EVENT – Bret Hart vs. Ric Flair

Larry Zbyszko vs. Scott Hall
The Giant vs. Kevin Nash



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